Skip Navigation

Species Search:

The latest in news, stories and just plain fun from the world of

Recent Entries

Monthly Archives

Today’s Solstice Marks The Start Of Summer—And Of Summer Stargazing
Posted on Monday, June 20, 2016 by eNature

The heavens are busy these days!  Today (June 20) is the summer solstice, and the beginning of summer in the Northern Hemisphere.  It’s also the longest day of the year.

In 2016, a full Moon, also commonly known as Strawberry Moon, will coincide with the June Solstice. The two events haven’t occurred on the same day since 1967 and will not coincide again until 2062.

The actual event happens today at 6:34 PM Eastern Daylight Time when when the Earth’s axial tilt is most inclined towards the sun, leaning 23° 26’. from the perpendicular in the direction of the sun. 

The word solstice derives from Latin sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still).  The summer solstice has significant meaning in many cultures and is celebrated world-wide.

June Constellations
At nine o’clock on June evenings (ten o’clock daylight savings time), face northwestward to see Leo the Lion plunging downward toward the horizon. Leo’s bright alpha star, Regulus, is due west. The Great Bear, Ursa Major, most recognizable by the star group within its boundaries called the Big Dipper, is about halfway up the northwestern sky.

The northeastern part of the sky is dominated by the three bright stars of the Summer Triangle: Vega, the alpha star in Lyra (the Lyre), is highest; Deneb, the alpha star in Cygnus (the Swan) is toward the northeast; and Altair, the alpha star in Aquila, the Eagle, is somewhat lower and toward the east. Below and to the left of Altair is the distinctive, albeit tiny and dim, constellation Delphinus, which really does look like a tiny dolphin leaping the waves.

Low toward the north is the W of Cassiopeia, the Queen. Higher up is the Little Dipper (the constellation Ursa Minor, the Little Bear), standing vertically on its handle. The tip of the handle is Polaris, the North Star.

Face southeast to see Antares, the bright red star marking the heart of Scorpius, low in the sky. High in the southeast, near Arcturus (the orange alpha star in Bootes, the Herdsman), is the semicircle of stars called Corona Borealis, or the Northern Crown. Below the Crown to the east is the H-shape of Hercules.

Although Arcturus has just crossed the meridian into the southwestern quadrant of the sky, the rest of its constellation, Bootes, stands vertically overhead. Spica, the bright alpha star in the constellation Virgo, dominates the lower southwestern sky.

Click on the Skyguide image to the right to get a good overview to all the activity in the night sky this month.

(1) CommentsPermalink


Hi - Just visited your site for the first time.  Have a couple of bird songs I’d like to identify.  I’m glad you have this site, but have a couple of comments.  I’d make suggestions to go along with, but I’m not knowledgeable as to how tofix things on the internet, so I’ll have to leave that up to you folks.  It takes a long time to load, jerking around when trying to scroll up and down the page.  Once on a page of, say finches, I can’t arrow from one to another quickly, down the list, looking for the bird I saw, or heard.  Just a few things to make it easier to use.  Because it’s so hard to navigate around in, I’ll probably look for another site.  Thanks, and good luck!

Posted by Terry on 6/26

A Couple Of Comments About Leaving Comments: Only your name will appear with your comment and, since we now moderate comments to stop spammers, your comment will appear once it's approved by the blog moderator.

Name (required):

Email (required):

Please enter the word you see below:

Remember my personal information

Notify me of follow-up comments

By submitting content, I acknowledge I have read and agree to eNature’s Terms of Use

eNature Web Site Terms of Use
1. Messages and other content posted on the eNature web site express the views of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of eNature. Discussions on the eNature web site about other organizations, events, or resources and links to other organizations’ web sites do not constitute an endorsement by eNature.

2. By using the eNature web site, you agree not to post any message or other content that is obscene, vulgar, slanderous, threatening, or that violates any laws. Personal attacks, hateful, and racially or ethnically derogatory comments will not be tolerated.

3. You agree not to post, reproduce, distribute or exploit any information on the eNature web site for advertising or commercial purposes.

4. Content on the eNature web site may include intellectual property that is protected under copyright, trademark and other intellectual property laws. Such laws generally prohibit the unauthorized reproduction, distribution or exhibition of protected materials. By posting messages or other content, you represent and warrant that (a) you have the legal right to reproduce and distribute such content and (b) eNature may reproduce, adapt, perform, display, and distribute such content in any form, worldwide and in perpetuity. eNature reserves the right to delete, move or edit any messages or other content for any reason, in eNature’s sole discretion.

5. eNature does not warrant that any information on the eNature web site is complete or accurate, and will not be liable any direct, indirect, incidental, punitive or consequential damages that may result from the use or inability to use the eNature web site, including the use of or reliance on any information made available on the web site.

6. The eNature reserves the right to prohibit access by any user who violates these Terms of Use, and to make changes to these Terms of Use at any time in its sole discretion.

Advanced Search
Subscribe to newsletters



© 2008